Here’s what standing with 290,000 people bathed in blue and white, and red, white, and blue is not:
It is not cowering in a library as a mask-covered mob beats at the doors, demanding to be let in.
It is not hiding in an airport as a riot breaks through security searching for Jews.
It is not listening to a respected academic laud a massacre so horrific in scope that it makes medieval Europe seem docile.
It is not watching students chanting for the destruction of a nation while denying history and even refusing to learn that history.
It is not trolling social media, slamming Jewish accounts with hate speech that rivals 1938 Germany.
It is not mindless and heartless passersby, ripping down posters of kidnapped babies and children and parents and grandparents.
It is not a mass of hypocrisy, lies, and celebrations of evil.
Standing with 290,000 people – my people – is a reminder of what being on the right side of history means. It is losing the yoke of the past thirty-eight days and basking in the side of the good.
It was a celebration amongst our pain. A window of reprieve from everything it was not. It was a clear reminder of who we are, of where we come from, of our collective knowledge of what is right and our staunch support of each other, regardless of masked chanters and pogrom-like riots. We stood, 290,000 strong, in song and prayer, in tears and heartbreak, but most of all in our collective hope.
I hesitated for a moment before going to this march. I was scared of what could happen. What if someone plants a bomb? What if there’s a shooter? What if I get attacked on the street? I thought of leaving my blue and white sweatshirt at home. I thought of reminding my sons to remove their yarmulkas. And at the same time, I was horrified that these thoughts were not manifested in paranoia, but in the reality of what has become our day-to-day.
For thirty-eight days, I have felt lost: praying, crying, trying to make sense of a world turned upside-down. The world didn’t change in the two hours of the rally. The hostages aren’t home, soldiers are still fighting, and parents are crying for their children. Away from that moment on the National Mall, the media continues its constant barrage of propaganda, masked protesters still chant for my death, and the uneducated still spew hate and lies. But in those three hours, I woke up to the strength of the families of the hostages, the belief in the perpetuity of my people, and the hope for the eternal land of Israel. I am not cowering in a corner or hiding on social media. I am powerful, true, and in this battleground of good and evil, I am situated on the side of good. We have over 2000 years behind us and we have always prevailed.
Here’s what standing with 290,000 people bathed in blue and white, and red, white, and blue is:
It is strength.
It is unity.
It is goodness.
And those qualities always win.